Do you know someone in the military from your family, church or community you can pray for by name? Ask God how he would have you support those in the military and their families. When we support their spouses and children with our prayers and kindness, we are supporting our troops and honoring God.
There are many U.S. troops in our military deployed all over the world leaving families back home. Many times their families see the importance of their mission, but their deployment results in a difficult life for those left behind. The remaining parents, spouse and children struggle with many issues, miss their family member, and often feel abandoned.
Struggling Teenagers of Deployed Parents
Ask your grandchildren if they have friends who have a parent in the military. If they know someone, encourage them to pray and reach out to their friend and their family with kindness. We are all part of the family of God. We are to share each other’s troubles and problems by being intercessors for those in the military and their families.
Cavin Harper, Executive Director of Christian Grandparenting Network talks about how military and civilian leaders “share a growing concern that grade school children from families with deployed military personnel struggle in varying degrees with intense feelings of abandonment and reintegration issues. Compounding this struggle is the limited availability of resources to assist in overcoming these struggles.”
Recently, I read an article in Parade magazine about the struggles of our deployed soldiers. The author said, “When mothers and fathers are deployed overseas, their children are also in danger.”* A new report from the Rand Corporation suggests that teenagers in military families suffer much higher rates of emotional distress than other teens. Across all age groups and genders, soldiers’ children had significantly greater emotional difficulties . . .”
Children of all ages greatly miss their deployed parents and find it difficult to cope. However, the article goes on to say these teenagers have greater emotional problems compared to the national average of teenagers. The older children are more aware of the dangers their deployed parents are facing each day. Younger children may feel that, though mom and dad are getting help, they are overlooked for the attention and help they need. During deployment spouses and children may feel abandoned, alone and even afraid.
It’s very important for grandparents to come alongside these spouses and children left behind. Dr. Arthur Kornhaber, well-known child psychologist has shown through decades of experience with young children and grandparents that grandparents have the power to facilitate healing in young lives. The Bible has proclaimed this for generations. Grandparents and extended family have a vital role in the lives of the children because grandparents really do matter.
Suggestions To Pray For The Military And Their Families
- Pray for a covering of protection over their families left behind. The numbers of spouses who leave a marriage, because of the stresses of long-term deployment and repeated deployments, is staggering. The impact this has on the kids is beyond imagination.
- Pray for grandparents of the children and spouses left behind by the deployed military to provide spiritual covering, encouragement, and intentional ministry of hope in Christ to their grandchildren, especially the teenagers.
- Pray for the witness and powerful presence of God for the troops who are followers of Christ.
- Pray for the local friendships they develop, to be able to build relationships and have opportunities to share the Gospel in ways and places no other missionaries would be able to do.
- Pray these troops would be the sweet fragrance of Christ among these peoples.
- Pray for the Chaplains and Commanders of the troops that they would be wise in their leadership and provide compassionate pastoral care.
- Pray for protection for our troops our soldiers as they face both physical and spiritual warfare in these foreign and hostile environments as they patrol the war torn area.
- Pray God’s presence will be obvious and powerful among the troops who do not know Christ.
- Pray for comfort and consolation for our troops as they lose comrades in battle or are wounded.
- Pray for the grieving families at home who have lost loved ones.
*Soldiers’ Children Struggle, Too, Parade Magazine, December 20, 2009, p.6.